It all started for me about 4 years ago, while I was a single mom, living with my parents and raising a newborn. My marriage had lasted less than a year, and my honeymoon baby was all I had left to cling to of my shattered dreams for our future. I had no idea what I was doing and now I was doing it alone. I had so many questions and no way to ask them, so I decided to make a Facebook group called My Atlanta Moms Club, and invite all my old and new friends that had kids.
At this point, I was 26 and not many of my friends had even started having children yet, much less gotten married and divorced. I had seen a few old friends from high school post about their children, so I decided to reach out to them and add them to my group…what could it hurt? There were about 10 of us to start and it was kind of awkward at first. How much should we share? How honest can we REALLY be? Will they think I’m a terrible mom? Will they tell people about the stupid questions I ask that obviously any real mom should know?
We went all in. I decided to shed my insecurities at the door inside that group and it was so liberating and so cathartic to be truly open and honest and to not be judged or ridiculed for my ideas and thoughts. I didn’t know it yet, but these girls would help mold me and train me and walk with me daily in my journey of parenting and motherhood. They became my tribe, my “momrades” to quote one of our members, we were a virtual village in a world where raising children had become a life of solitude. This day and age its rare to have friends, family and neighbors that help you in life. We pay babysitters instead of using nearby aunts, cousins, moms and friends. We become parents and suddenly all our single friends fall by the wayside, they don’t understand yet, but they will and we will welcome them back with open arms and grace. We lose our bodies, at the very least for the 9 months of pregnancy while someone else takes up residence and runs the show. We lose our identity that has been carried along with us throughout life up until now, and shed it for a new mothering identity categorized by our parenting style. Crunchy? Attachment parenting? Helicopter mom? Free ranger? Those become our new vocabulary and our new battle grounds.
My Atlanta Moms Club recently crossed the threshold of over 1600 members.
I can vividly remember the moment we made it to 200, and I thought that was monumental. We actually went out to dinner to celebrate! These members are more than that though, they are sisters I never had. They are confidants, they are heroes, they are leaders, they are entrepreneurs, business owners, teachers, nurses, play mates, wives, girlfriends, mothers. They are the answer to many a 2am emergency question. They are impromptu lactation consultants for a bad latch, low supply or just a pat on the back to keep us going. The decipher rashes, fevers, dirty diapers and vomit. They care about one another. They lift up each other. They create a mothering connection in Atlanta, a real community, that otherwise did not exist.
My Atlanta Moms Club has become something I never even imagined all those years ago when I was drowning and I just needed help for myself. It has allowed me to pay it forward over and over again. It has brought me peace in terrible storms and unbridled excitement over parenting wins. What started off as a selfish need, became a way to help others. I am so grateful to all of the women who have graced our page over the years. Last week we began the journey of turning this group into a web page full of our collective thoughts and knowledge and I could not be more excited to see this coming to life. Every one of our members brought something new and individual to us, creating the melting pot of information and emotions we thrive on. So here’s to you ladies, thank you for support and positive attitudes! We can’t wait to show you what we have been working on for you, it is going to blow your socks off!
Caroline Hoffman, Founder of My Atlanta Moms Club